Thursday, November 01, 2007

Danone to take over Nutricia, Milupa and Cow & Gate

Some household names are coming together and what it means for infant health and mother's rights is, as yet, unclear.

NUMICO, a Dutch company, owns formula brands Nutricia, Milupa and Cow & Gate. Hence the name.

It is being taken over by Danone, a French company. Known in the UK for its yoghurts. Known to infant health campaigners for violating the baby food marketing requirements in Europe and Francophone Africa in particular.

The deal is worth 12.3 billion euros according to Reuters. See:

According to a report on Forbes, the deal has been cleared by European Competition authorities subject to some divestment. See:

"The commission said its decision is conditional upon the divestment of Numico's baby milk and baby drink business in France, Danone's baby meals, baby milk, baby snacks, and baby drink activities in Belgium, and Danone's baby meal and baby snacks activities in The Netherlands."

You can find profiles of the companies in the Breaking the Rules reports produced by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) at:

A survey in West Africa published in the British Medical Journal found Danone to be responsible for more labelling violations (21) than Nestlé (11) and concluded: "In west Africa manufacturers are violating the code of marketing of breast milk substitutes". See Monitoring compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in west Africa: multisite cross sectional survey in Togo and Burkina Faso, BMJ 2003;326:127 at:

For past campaigns we have run targeting malpractice by all these companies see the 'codewatch' section of:

Globally Nestlé is responsible for more violations than any other company.

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